Henry van Dyke, 1852-1933

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22

While gazing at the magnificent Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts, Henry van Dyke described in "Joyful, Joyful" the many aspects of life that should bring us joy. He insisted that his text, written in 1911, be sung to the music of "Hymn of Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. This combination of words and great music makes "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" one of the most joyous expressions of any hymn in the English language.

One of the forceful ideas expressed by van Dyke is that God's gracious love for us should create a greater "brother love" for our fellow man. With God's help we can become victorious over strife and be "lifted to the joy divine" as we daily show more love to others.

Henry van Dyke was a distinguished Presbyterian minister who served as moderator of his denomination for a time and as a Navy Chaplain in World War I. Later he was the ambassador to Holland and Luxembourg under President Wilson. He also served a number of years as professor of literature at Princeton University. High honors came to him for his many devotional writings. Yet this one inspiring hymn is the reason Henry van Dyke is best remembered.

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow'rs before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in Christ are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning oer us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us sunward in the triumph song of life.

*For Today*: Job 38:7; Psalm 98; Habakkuk 3:17-19; I Peter 3:8 & 9

Would it be possible for you to offer your praise to God for His matchless love in some creative way--original poetry, music, painting...?


Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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